Foundry by Eliot Peper

    What can I say Eliot Peper did it again with Foundry! From the moment it started the whole story was a fast-paced, entertaining, and almost too close-to-reality near-future spy novel. Needless to say, I could not put the book down or stop listening to it when I was away from the physical book. I really enjoyed how this book (compared to his others) took a different style in approach by being written in first person and I even found when listening to it (also appreciated it was his voice) it was like someone was telling me a story as we sat across a table drinking a cortado.

    I think this book was the perfect way to do such a thing and as always allowed for all the twists and turns as the bigger story unfolded. As always, I enjoy hearing easter eggs from prior books as he might reference places and technology but you would not have had to read those books before to enjoy this one. The attention to all details between the characters and the scenery made me feel like I was part of the overall storytelling journey.

    Eliot does such a great job of writing these types of near-future stories like these where the plot and things that happen are very realistic and not so far-fetched to what we hear in the news. However, I think it also goes to show the detail in which he researches various technologies and topics to ensure it has that real feel to the story. This is found in how he describes places, food, drinks, and technology. Overall, this is another great book put out into the world by Eliot! I am sure he is sick of hearing this from me but… I can’t wait for the next one!

    Not going to lie I was super excited to see this in the mail box tonight. Can’t wait to see what my friend Eliot Peper has cooked up in this book, Foundry… How can it not be good when the inside cover says, “This is a story about two spies locked in a room with a gun.” 😃

    Finished reading: Mercy (Atlee Pine Book 4) by David Baldacci 📚 - Lot’s of twists and turns in what I can only manage is the last of the series. However, it did do a good job of wrapping up the series and not leaving things open.

    📚 I H💛TE RUNNING AND YOU CAN TOO by Brendan Leonard

    If you are looking for a great motivational book to keep you going in whatever you are trying to do look no further. If you are looking for a book about how to run then this might not be what you are looking for but you should pick this one up as well to give you some laughs along your running journey.

    The great part about this book is that it is all about the Running journey and exploring why people run and the motivation behind it. By using Brendan’s and others' relatable running stories it frames up challenges all of us face to just get motivated to do things in life. There are always obstacles in the way, better things to do, or thinking we are too busy to do something. As a “runner” myself, I can personally relate to the specific stories of running as no matter how much I love running, being outdoors, It is much better to have the run done and behind me as I too am someone that struggles most of the time to just get out the door. Specific to running, everyone has their own story and reasons why they run and Brendan also explores that as part of the book.

    People who get to decide what the point of all your Running is - Brendan Leonard

    Now I am a fan of Brendan Leonard fan of his work from his site Semi-Rad, and this book did not disappoint. That being said, I have seen some of these graphs before but the rest of the story and context is short, witty, and perfectly sized for most of us to get through in a timely manor.

    One of my favorite parts of the book is when he is talking about what he calls the “invisible work” which in the context of the book is all of the miles and hours you put in before a race or event. In fact, for someone like myself who is planning on running a Marathon later this year, I have already run about 37 marathons with the number of miles I have put in so far.

    Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. - Chuck Close

    Overall, I couldn’t recommend this book more but honestly don’t just take my word for it and pick up a copy from the links on his website. The best thing is it is a smaller-sized book so you can carry it with you on all of your adventures (well maybe not while running) so you can refer to the helpful motivational kick in the butt that is needed from time to time while doing anything. Honestly, I wish I had this book a couple of years back when I was content with just running a 5k a day as some days were harder to get motivated than others. As I am now running longer miles with slightly less frequency, I feel like this book helps keep me motivated to get out there.

    Got this book late yesterday and can’t wait to dive into it. I have chatted with one of the authors, Brendan Leonard from Semi-Rad briefly over the past couple of years and I would hands down recommend all of his books and work. If you haven’t already check out his stuff or this book.

    📚 Veil by Eliot Peper

    Veil by Eliot Peper (@EliotPeper) was just released a week ago and I really can’t say enough good things about it. If you are looking for a great book then look no further as Eliot has produced another great page-turner after not long ago finishing his most recent sequels.


    The book was released on May 20th, 2020, but I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy from my good friend Eliot himself. However, I enjoyed the book so much that once it was released I purchased another copy as well for my collection.

    Unlike some of Eliot’s other books, I actually felt like this one started a little slower but that was a good thing. As with a lot of good books, it built you up getting to know the characters and backgrounds. Speaking of, the main character, Zia León seems like your normal humanitarian that leads various aid missions to help areas in need. However, what makes Zia unique is she comes with sass and attitude that fits her well in order to get the job done.

    As the first part of the story goes I was trying at times to see how all the pieces were going to fit together. Honestly, it took me a little while to start putting the pieces together, and then all of a sudden a kidnapping happened and I could not put this book down. Not only does the story speed up but more is revealed along the way that made it even more of a page-turner. I soon found out that the adventure was just beginning for Zia.

    Eliot does it again by looking into the near future and laying out what might happened due to various social/global issues that are relevant in today’s world. With his ability to research those relevant topics, expand on them to plausible future events and outcomes all while crafting other drama into the story always amazes me. Don’t get me wrong there is more to the story than just social events as friendships are tested, betrayal unfolds, and stubborn relationships rear their ugly heads. Everything centers around Zia and she must deal with them all along the way.

    Final Thoughts

    The one thing I appreciate about Eliot’s books is the way he sometimes weaves things from other books into the mix. I might have only caught one referring to an open-sourced software architecture 😃 but I am sure there were more. Additionally, he finds ways to weave current locations and eating establishments that again makes the futuristic feel of this book that much closer to home.

    I have really been enjoying Eliot’s near future books as the concepts and issues are not unrealistic to see come to fruition. Not to mention he always seems to be writing about topics that are big and bold and not just ones that change over the course of a year.

    This is again one of those books I really can’t recommend enough. In a time where politics seems to be guiding best practices for how we deal with climate issues, this book takes you to the near future in the path we could be on.

    To make sure you don’t miss out on his next books be sure to follow him on twitter (@EliotPeper) and subscribe to his newsletter from his website (http://www.eliotpeper.com/).


    As I mentioned I have read some of Eliot’s books before and wrote about them so if you are interested to check out some of his other books go for it as you won’t be disappointed! Here are a couple: True Blue (A Short Story), Bandwidth, Borderless, and Breach.

    Design Your Future by Dominick Quartuccio

    I can never pass up an interesting book and TCK Publishing reached out to me a while back to take a read through a book they had called Design Your Future: 3 Simple Steps to Stop Drifting and Start Living by Dominick Quartuccio.

    Design Your Future by Dominick Quartuccio

    Besides the title of this book, I had not heard of Dominick Quartuccio or this concept of drifting that he does do a great job of laying out at the beginning of the book. You will quickly find out in short drifting is just following along the status quo or coasting through life accepting everything that is happening.

    “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.”

    F.M. Alexander

    As someone who has written about habits before and not long ago had a very addicting habit that added up to a lot of miles being run, I was very interested in seeing what the author had to say. Not too far into the book he hits you with some quick questions like "Are you feeling bored? Restless? Trapped?" and if your answers are yes then the solution is that It's Time to Take Back Control of Your Life.

    In a nutshell, that is what the book is really based on. The nice thing about this book, in my opinion, is that it is short and very consumable. However, not too short that he doesn't add some examples throughout each topic. However, It is really broken down into 4 parts which have simple enough concepts:

    Awakening

    Being aware as you cannot change what you are not aware of. Uncover the habits that are operating in your blind spots. Once your habits are brought out into light you can inspect them and disrupt them.

    Disrupting

    Disrupting is the process of interrupting your perpetual patterns and breaking the stimulus and response cycle. When you do this, you get immediate and profound feedback on why you do what you do, and how these habits may be serving or oppressing you.

    Designing

    The first two parts of the book are pretty straightforward as he talks about how to pretty much break down your current habits and thinking in order to get to the designing part. In the designing chapter he talks a lot about Ultimate authority and how to set compelling goals. This is where he talks about creating new habits that empower your future.

    Ultimate authority means taking responsibility for the fact that your life is the sum total of every decision you’ve ever made from the day you were born up until this very moment. This means you get to take credit for the many successes you’ve had. It also means the shit parts of your life are on you too.

    Sustaining

    The part of the book I think makes the most sense. Obviously, if you have completed the above topics then you have to figure out a way to keep moving forward.

    The Awakening, Disrupting and Designing (ADD) Cycle we have just walked through in this book is a process that should be repeated and not a one-time exercise.

    The above statement by the author was a great strategic point to make towards the end of the book for a reminder about sustaining. There are a lot of things we do in life thinking if we just do it once all is good. However, in reality, we need to continue to work on things no matter if it is trying to rid ourselves of excess possessions, weight, or anything else. Each day is a new day that you really have to tackle the problem again. The advantage you have as you build up the consecutive days is that it becomes a habit and less you might have to think about in the future.

    Overall Thoughts

    Overall, I enjoyed the book and if anything it made me think about various things I do and maybe things I have been thinking about changing or doing in my life but haven’t taken that next step. I really did enjoy that the book was a quick read as I could see myself flipping through the pages again at some point in time as it gives off a measure of motivation too.

    If you think the book would be interesting to you, it can be found on Amazon or through the publisher’s website (TCK Publishing).

    Rise of Audiobooks

    These days most of the reading I do is listening to someone read me a book. I have written about this before but I came across this tweet by James Clear laying out that audio is the biggest trend in books.


    Honestly, he nailed this in my opinion.

    Ease of Listening using Smartphones and Headphones

    His first two points around the change in technology I can’t disagree with at all. The increase/change in technology has allowed audiobooks to be much easier to listen too as the technology has provided a very low barrier of entry and use. You can take them with you on the go and not have to worry about finding a cassette or CD player. Yes, you read that right, I just said cassette player. I was in that era where we had walkmans and boomboxes. So not super compact if you wanted to go on a run or walk around the house listening to your book tape. In fact, the first vehicle I purchased out of college had both a cassette and a CD player. Now the van my wife and I just bought 2 years ago doesn’t have either.

    The other change in technology that is similar but not specifically called out is a change in media type. As I just discussed with audiotapes and audio CDs, that is more physical stuff you needed to carry around. I remember renting an audiobook tape from the library back in 2004 and it had 10 tapes I had to carry around. I used to make a lot of trips to Chicago from Minneapolis so this is when I first started getting into book tapes as it was a way to pass the 7 hr drive by myself. However, I would have to always make sure to flip the tape or put in the next CD. Now you don’t even have to mess with physical media as you can just download it on your phone, or tablet and go. In addition, it is much easier to get audiobooks, you can still get them for free from the library but now instead of having to go to the library to pick up your cassettes or CDs, you can just download them from Overdrive or something else your library might be connected with. Also, if you can’t get them from the library or don’t want to be put on the waitlist, you can quickly buy them though Audible or other platforms and pretty much listen to it instantly.

    Image by Welcome to all and thank you for your visit ! ツ from Pixabay

    Everyone loves Convenience

    The third point he makes is the one that is maybe more concerning but even more spot on. I say that it is concerning as I am one of those people. Every year I have this idea in my head I am going to physically read more books but every year I only get though enough to count on one hand. Most of the ones I read like that are advanced copies I get from a friend show writes some pretty amazing books. Honestly, it is the convenience that I continue to stick with audiobooks because I can listen to them while doing a number of other things. I still don’t know if that is a great thing to always multitask while listening to books but I don’t see myself changing that. Most of the time it is when I am running or driving to work. For both of those activities, audiobooks are the perfect multitasking initiative. Also, both of those activities for me have a defined starting and stopping point that doesn’t allow it to flow into other activities.

    Another article I was reading titled “The Rise and Rise of the Books you Don’t read” by Clare Thorp touched on a lot of other interesting benefits around audiobooks but one part in there was a different look at the Convenience topic above.

    “Often audio is not competing with time spent with books,” says Richard Lennon, publisher at Penguin Audio. “It’s people who are either fitting books and authors into their day in new ways, so people who might be existing readers but have found that during their commute or exercising or cooking dinner, there’s an opportunity to listen. Or it’s an alternative to TV for people who are conscious of their screen time.”

    Bingo! Richard validated that a lot of the times when I personally listen to books are times I would not have been sitting on the couch reading a physical book. As it would be hard to run down the streets in the morning with a physical book in my hands.

    However, I do listen to audiobooks sometimes in the evening as I am doing small tasks around the house. The only issue with this is that it translates into not just sitting on the couch and relaxing or winding down. It then has me wandering all around the house doing various projects and tasks. Then what ultimately ends up happening is that I continue to listen to it much longer and stay up later than I was anticipating. These are the times that go against what Richard was talking about as it isn’t really a new way and I just cut out a good way to get back to physical books. In fact, these specifically are the times I should have reached for the physical book instead and the more times I don’t I find the more times I don’t even think about physical books.

    So are you going to change any of your habits?

    Probably not. Honestly, I do know I am taking the easier way out by listening to books instead of physically reading them but it works for me. Maybe when I am older and have some more time on my hands to sit by a fire or on my couch in the afternoon I will read more physical (or even digital) books.

    For now, they are a good companion while running and driving to work so I don’t see that changing. The only thing I might try to change very slightly is to listen to less in the evening in a way to either try to read a physical book or do something else with my time.

    How about you? Do you listen to audiobooks and what are your thoughts around it?

    North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek

    This summer based on the suggestion of others I decided to read pick up the book titled North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek and Jenny Jurek. I always knew who Scott Jurek was but I for some reason I didn't really realize he had run the Appalachian Trail and/or wrote a book about it. So as a runner myself I figured this would be the perfect book to listen to. The book chronicles Scott’s 2015 attempt at the Application Trail FKT (fastest known time) that he made with the assistance of his wife Jenny.

    Overall, I would suggest “North” to anyone that enjoys running or hiking. Not to say if you didn’t enjoy running or hiking you wouldn’t find this interesting but I do think you can relate to some points in the story. However, if you want to hear more of my take read on!

    The book is mainly from Scott’s point of view I did like the added benefit that Jenny’s views were intermixed in the book (as well as Audio) as well. It was interesting hearing what Jenny was thinking during the time as well as she could tell her husband Scott was hurting at times but also gave some insight into all that went on behind the scenes to assist while he was out running the trail. Also, the book is about so much more, you hear about their suffering, friendship, marriage, ego, and doubt.

    From the beginning of the story, you are dropped into the picture with Jenny and Scott discussing life and what is next. Scott seems to want something else out of life as he realizes he has been on autopilot. He wanted to capture the uncertainty and excitement that comes with putting yourself into an extreme challenge. Not to mention, he and his wife Jenny were also mentally and physically drained by her second miscarriage. For them, Scott’s attempt at the Application Trail FKT was a way for them to try to escape and reconnect with themselves. However, they were not entirely sure what they had gotten themselves into.

    46 DAYS - 2,189 MILES

    Everyone already knows the outcome of the book so that is not a spoiler to any degree. However, where the pages start to come together is listening to how they overcame the daily struggles on the trail. You can tell the injuries, deprivations, and setbacks all take a toll on the overall push for and ultimate broken record. It is in those daily struggles that words of motivation and inspiration flow to the reader.

    The Appalachian Trail ©NPS

    Final Thoughts

    I listened to the Audiobook of this mostly while running of course :). I will say I really appreciate it when authors read their own books for Audiobooks, I think it adds something to it. Especially, if it is someone like Scott and Jenny that you have seen a picture of before and are a presence in the running community. It almost makes it feel like a friend just telling you a story.

    I really find it easy to recommend this book as I think it is a great story to be told of his feat and you feel you are with both him and Jenny the whole way. Also, I found how the book was written can help motivate anyone to face a big obstacle.

    Final note, if you are interested in more pictures and news from the actual event check out Scott Jurek's website. Also, you can find a video that Brooks Running made as well.

    “Breach” by Eliot Peper

    Breach by Eliot Peper (@EliotPeper) was a great ending to the Analog series as it compliments both Bandwidth and Borderless. Not to jump too far to my conclusion but this is another great book by Eliot and I really enjoy how his books can stand by themselves but are also tied together to make a great series.

    I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy to read but as I really do enjoy Eliot's writing I bought the Kindle and Audiobook version too in order to add to my growing collections of great books.

    For the final story in the analog novels, Eliot further weaves the prior books of this series together by bringing back prior characters that some may have forgotten. This time, however, the people who long ago were manipulating the feed are the only ones capable of saving it as an activist group is trying to destroy the credibility and power it possesses.

    A stranger in hiding discovers that this group of powerful people wants to destroy the feed and she knows she needs to do something about it. The stranger has been in hiding for so long trying to forget about the missteps of her past life knows that what is being discussed could hurt those that she was close to. She must decide if it is worth it to come out of hiding to help her friends that she abandoned long ago.

    Prior to this Emily, who had manipulated a backdoor to the feed had no thought of going back and reconnecting with her past friends and acquaintances but after stumbling upon this plot to hurt those people she knew she couldn't sit idle. As she weaves her way back into the lives of those she abandoned she reflects on her upbringing and what brought her to where she is today.

    Honestly, I could go on and on about the story but I think you should pick up a copy yourself to read as I don't want to spoil anything that might give away how it ends.

    Attention to detail

    As always, Eliot does great with the details. This is one of the many reasons I really enjoy reading his books. He writes in a way that paints a vivid picture of what the character is seeing, hearing and feeling as they go about the story. All of that further adds to the story as you feel you are part of the action.

    Not to mention he does a great job drawing from current events and issues in the world today to bring this story that much closer to the very near future. Topics around student loans, schools effectiveness, and of course politics on a global scale just to name a few.

    This story was tightly woven into the other two books of the Analog series by the characters, but Eliot also made sure the books could be read by themselves. Keep your eyes out for the easter eggs that he drops into the stories when he might reference other characters or places from other books he has written. I am sure I didn't catch them all but when I find something referencing a different book (not part of this series) it does put a smile on my face.

    As with almost all of Eliot's books, I really enjoy the quotes and insights that are sprinkled about. In the various types of books I read, I don't normally pull out motivation from fiction books. However, I am thinking Eliot does this on purpose as the character is normally trying to motivate themselves or others but the same statements can be used in everyday life. One that stuck out for me in this story is below.

    Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

    Final Thoughts

    If you are looking for a good book to read while enjoying the warmer summer months I would definitely suggest picking up this book as it will keep you wanting more. Not to mention if you have not read any of the books in this series I would suggest starting from the beginning as you can't go wrong.

    I really do enjoy Eliot's books and his style of writing as you can tell. I can't wait to see what is up next for him as he continues to produce great work.

    True Blue by Eliot Peper: Now An Internet Art Project

    You can now read True Blue by Eliot Peper for free online as it has moved to An Internet Public Art Project.


    To read the online story click on the picture.

    This is a really cool idea of turning a short story into something different. It isn't really a comic book but something almost living by utilizing the technology of today to create and make the story more visually appealing. I enjoyed the story when I read it in 2017, but the story combined with the illustrations and design make for an even more brilliant read.

    I am a fan of Eliot's work as I have tried to read almost everything he has written. However, for this creation I need to be sure to give credit to the Illustrator (Phoebe Morris) and the Designer, Art Director and Developer (Peter Nowell).

    If you are curious about the creative details of the online version check out Eliot's post on Medium titled Making 'True Blue'.

    “Borderless” by Eliot Peper

    Borderless (which was released October 30th) by Eliot Peper (@EliotPeper) is a great sequel to Bandwidth that was released earlier this year.

    I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy to read but as I really do enjoy Eliot's writing I bought the Kindle version too in order to add to my growing collections of great books.

    The story picks up where Bandwidth leaves off as groups are more aware of the true power that the feed can possess on the global civilization. The main character from the previous book, Dag, is living with Diana and he is no longer working as a lobbyist and spends his days coloring.

    This story is from Diana's viewpoint, who is working as a freelance spy now that she has left the CIA. A subtle underlying story of the book is how Diana is trying to figure out how to avoid second-guessing herself, putting trust in others, all while battling mentors and others from her past. While she is dealing with her own internal struggles, she needs to stay sharp in order to put a stop to others taking over one of the world's most important resources.

    Attention to detail

    The one thing I have really enjoyed about this series is how it talks about the feed but never does Eliot really describe how the feed is connected to us or what it really is. I think it is great to leave that abstract out as we each have our own thoughts and images of what that might actually look like. Also based on how the characters in the book use/talk about the feed you continue to create in your mind what that looks like.

    One of the things I appreciate about Eliot's books is the realistic characters, their struggles, and overall attention to detail. Even though the book is written in a near-future time, he used tools at his disposal to map/chart out what the world would have looked like and the paths the characters could have taken.

    Also, as with all of Eliot's books there are hidden Easter Eggs for you to find where he may reference other books he has written. It always brings a smile to my face as I know it isn't always easy to tie books from different series together but a lot of authors do it.

    Final Thoughts

    If you are looking for a good book to read as the colder months are approaching I would definitely pick this book up as it really grabs your attention from the first page and keeps you wanting more.

    Finally, Eliot has another book in this series that is schedule to be released in May 2019 titled "Breach" that I for one am excited to see what is next.

    “Bandwidth” by Eliot Peper

    Bandwidth by Eliot Peper (@EliotPeper) is definitely another page turner by one of my favorite authors.

    I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy to read but I also bought the Kindle version as well so needless to say it is definitely worth picking up. If you are a Kindle Unlimited Member you can get it for Free. Otherwise, it is $4.99 to buy which is a great deal as well!

    Bandwidth by Eliot Peper

    Bandwidth wastes no time from the first page dropping you right into the action as it captivates your imagination of a world not that far into the future. You will quickly figure out that the main character Dag Calhoon, a lobbyist representing high-powered tech and energy executives, starts questioning the world he has been helping create. In this world, every person has a “feed” (like social media) that is always in people’s minds and is integral to how the world works. As the story evolves, Dag stumbles upon a group of activists that have hijacked people’s feeds in order to sway public options and global markets. He eventually is faced with big decisions as he tries to figure out what is right/wrong and whom to trust.

    I would say Eliot has done a good job in changing the types of books I have been custom to over the past couple of years. Where three years ago I would have said I read more Mystery or Action-Adventure and typically would have stayed away from Sci-fi type books. This book (like some of his others) is not what I would consider your typical Sci-fi books but more “near-term sci-fi” as it seems more within reach in the next decade.

    **The Future feels closer than you think these days**

    Even though this is a future-looking book, with everything in the news these days around political, environmental, and social media control issues it almost seems closer than you think. This book has them all and intertwines them into a great page-turning novel.  As always with Eliot's books, this is a very fast-paced story with a lot of twists and turns to make you really think. Not to mention the precision of detail he puts into describing the situations, buildings, food, and drinks that paints a perfect picture of what you should be seeing. Finally, I appreciated the short chapters as I always find myself with interrupting children when finally find time to sit down and read.

    I really can’t recommend this book enough and as always don’t want to give too much of it away. So I would suggest you go reserve a copy

    To make sure you don’t miss out on his next books and sequel to Bandwith titled Borderless, be sure to follow him on Twitter (@EliotPeper) and subscribe to his newsletter from his website (http://www.eliotpeper.com/).

    As I mentioned I have read some of Eliot's books before and wrote about them so if you are interested to check out some of his other books go for it as you won't be disappointed!  Here are a couple: True Blue (A Short Story)Neon Fever DreamUncommon Stock: Power Play and Uncommon Stock: Exit Strategy.

    Break the Twitch, The Book by Anthony Ongaro

    I just finished reading Break The Twitch: a practical guide to minimalism, intentional living & doing more of what matters by Anthony Ongaro and it is the perfect book for anyone looking to make a change in your current habits.  I had hoped to finish it right after it came out in December but got caught up in work stuff as I wanted to make sure I could really take time off around Christmas and New Years.  Hindsight 20/20, it is probably a good thing I didn't finish it in December as I would have cringed even more every time a box with specific markings on it arrived at my doorstep before the holidays.

    Break The Twitch: a practical guide to minimalism, intentional living & doing more of what matters by Anthony Ongaro

    Breaking the Twitch

    One of the great things I like about this book is that it really sets the stage early on as the quote below is the first line of the introduction.

    People don’t buy products—they buy better versions of themselves.

    The book in my mind gets separated into three different parts :

    • The introduction of the book is where Anthony talks very specifically about how digging into his Amazon purchasing history he was able to figure out that he was buying so much stuff on a whim. He also briefly dissects some of the purchases he made and his rationale prior to the purchases compared to the actual outcome.
    • The second part of the book is where he starts to give more detailed examples and ideas to help you the reader identify places in your life where you might be doing things impulsively. Also, how those impulses can create some really strong habits as he found out personally. Finally, he brings up how technology has maybe helped play a huge role in fostering the habits.
    • The final part of the book really brings everything together and talks about strategies to take for breaking bad habits (or Twitches). Additionally, it talks about Minimalism and how that can help play a role in breaking and creating new habits.

    Even though the book has the underlying true story of Anthony's Amazon purchases, what he discovered helps provide specific examples of correcting and uncovering bad habits. So if you are you thinking of changing some of your habits this year, the book lays out some good approaches he took for Breaking the Twitch. As you can tell I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone. With that said, most of the stuff in the book isn't rocket science, and the themes of what he is saying most people already know. In my opinion, the value or what sets this book apart is that he does a good job breaking his thoughts down into bits that can be easily tackled.

    My Running Story...

    Let's be honest if I said we should run a 5k next month, and you haven't run for over a year, your head might spin. At the time it would seem like such a hurdle to climb and you might not even know where to start because you're too focused on the end result and not what could you do TODAY! Or as it is described in the book the Minimal Viable Action.

    Minimally Viable Action—the smallest, most immediate step you can take that is doing what you want to do.

    For my example, I was that person, and a couple of years ago I decided to just go out and run (in the dead of winter at that) with my non-GPS watch, my old pair of running shoes, and whatever other cold-weather workout clothes (or layers) I could find. I told myself I would run two blocks but after being out there I made it much further and then the next time I made it farther until having to walk. Each time I made it longer and sometimes faster until eventually it was just a habit and I was feeling healthier and had a good routine. When the month was up I realized I had already run a 5k and running another one wasn't going to be an issue.

    Some final thoughts…

    Reading a book like this helps give you motivation and encouragement as you reflect on yourself. Knowing that you are not alone and others, though on different paths have probably been faced to walk down a similar path.

    Remember that simplifying your life and designing a space that aligns with your intentions takes time—as the old adage goes, it is a journey, not a destination.


    Anthony Ongaro, Break the Twitch

    However, don't just take my word for it since you can read some of the book before you buy, Anthony has posted the introduction chapter of his book on his site which you can find here.

    To learn more about the book and see what others had to say check out Anthony's book page on the Break the Twitch site here. If you want to see/follow along with more of Anthony's work you can find him on Twitter @BreakTheTwitch, his website,  and or his YouTube channel. I have been following along since 2016, where during my running example above I wrote about the Power of a Habit and linked so some of his older posts which helped motivate me at that time to push through.

    What Twitches or habits have you noticed yourself having that you would like changed? I would love to hear from you in the comments below.

    "True Blue (A Short Story)" by Eliot Peper

    True Blue a short story by a favorite author of mine Eliot Peper (@EliotPeper) just released yesterday.

    I will first say this is one of the first short stories I have read because most of the time I have strayed away from them in the past. However, I am glad I read this one as it was the perfect size for me to digest in my normally busy week.  Not to mention I am a fan of  Eliot's work and this is another one that doesn't disappoint and couldn't put it down. Let's just say it was good for me that it was a short story. The main topic of the book is around discrimination but is set in a more future state. Even though this book is a short story Elliot masterfully writes it in great detail with various twists you might not see coming.

    I really can't say enough about the book and don't want to give too much of it away so go grab a copy as you can't beat the price as it only 2.99 (or free if you have Kindle Unlimited).  So go grab a copy today and start your weekend off right.

    "The Boys in the Boat" by Daniel James Brown

    “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics” by Daniel James Brown is a book I honestly probably would have never read this book if it wasn’t at the suggestion of my Grandma during Thanksgiving.  She had mentioned two books she thought everyone should read and this was one of them.  Most of the time I read fiction books of mystery and suspense.  However, this non-fiction book proved to be more of a page-turner than the last couple books I had read during the holidays.

    The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

    First Thoughts

    As I first started to read this I was thinking to myself I know nothing about rowing and it is set in such an earlier time that I feared I wouldn't be able to relate.  However, I was wrong on both accounts.  The book definitely takes you back (as it was before my time), to a time in the great depression.

    As for not knowing anything about rowing, after reading it for a couple of nights I felt like every time I went to bed I was dreaming about rowing.  Some of that was the way the author did a great job at talking about all parts of rowing but not necessarily at the same time.  It was over the course of the book he talks about the various terms and I started to understand what the coxswain, engine room, bowman, and stern.

    The book is entirely from viewpoint of Joe Rantz, a poor farm boy from the state of Washington who was growing up during the great depression.  The book takes you through his struggles after he lost his mother early on and then was abandoned by his father.  You can tell through the story that all of the struggles he faced as a child gave him the discipline and strength to pursue rowing once he got to college as he had never done it before.

    Final Thoughts

    If you are looking for a good page turner I would definitely check this book out. If you have read it I would love to know why you thought.

    Final thoughts, I know there was a PBS Documentary called “The Boys' of 36” that is based on the book that you can find on the PBS website.  I have not watched it yet but am going to check it out now that I have finished the book.

    Neon Fever Dream by Eliot Peper

    Neon Fever Dream by Eliot Peper (@EliotPeper) was a really good page turner that once I finally started I couldn’t put it down as I wanted to know what would happen next (I probably should have read about one month ago but kept putting it off until Monday night).  This is another book of his that I can’t recommend enough as I have tried to read every one of Eliot’s books since he first published Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0 a couple years back.

    In full disclosure, I was fortunate enough to receive an advance copy of the book a while back.  However, at this exact time, you can’t read it yet but can Pre-Purchase it.  In fact, even though I received the advanced copy I still decided to purchase it as well.

    NFD_Book

    The story starts out by getting you acquainted with the characters over the first couple of chapters to give you a good backdrop of the main character so you get a sense of her background.  Then everything is turned upside down in an instant with Asha and as a whim of trying to take control of her own life she ends up heading to Burning Man with her new best “friend”.

    However, just when everything seemed to be getting on the right track, Asha realized she doesn’t know the people she is with as well as she thought and she needs to quickly figure out who to trust and who is telling the truth.  Once sorted out is only the beginning as the bigger story of a criminal take down brings more twists and turns to the past of hers and the people she decided to trust.  Each page will make you question if she is trusting the right people from her current situation or her people from her past from long ago.  Will they still be able to take down the criminal empire?  (Come on I can’t tell you the whole story here, check it out yourself, trust me it is worth it.) 

    Most of the story takes place at Burning Man, which I have never been to and not sure I ever will in my lifetime.  However, with Eliot’s style of writing, I felt like I was there.  With my little understanding of the event and layout, I really did feel like I was walking or biking around the playa visiting the various places.  In fact, one specific part of the book detailed out the author’s thoughts on the event that shows you the amount of detail he added:

    This was a city built and dismantled in a week—a collective piece of art as beautiful and fleeting as the mandala they had watched the monks create with such painstaking care. Calling it a festival was a slight. It was more than that. It was an experiment, an exploration of what it meant to be alive.

    One of my favorite quotes of the book that kept on popping up (four times I think) was:

    You cannot control the world, but only you control how you react to it.

    Finally, if you are a fan of Eliot's other writing you might find the "easter egg" in the book where a past character might have made an appearance.  I wish I could say I would have realized it all on my own but prior to reading the book I had read the book review by Brad Feld (@bfeld) and already knew it was coming so was on the look out of for it.

    Update:  If you are looking for some details on what inspired the author to write this book check out his post title A dark secret hides in the swirling dust and exultant revelry of Burning Man, where he talks about it.  I always think it is interesting to hear how/why an author wrote a particular book.

    The More of Less by Joshua Becker

    It has been more than three weeks since I have finished the book titled The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker and honestly this was a book I really couldn’t put down after I started it.

    Before I tell you about the book specifically I want to point something out, I had originally started with only the Kindle version and was enjoying reading it at nights before bed but I realized that I only found limited time to pick it up every night as it didn’t fit with my normal routine of reading/listening to things.  So I decided to upgrade my purchase to the audible companion which was well worth it as I could listen to the Audiobook during my morning run, or while cleaning up and getting things ready in the evening for the next day.  However, the biggest benefit was that I could then pick up my Kindle and actually physically read the book right where my audio portion left off.  Honestly, the best of both worlds and I would recommend it for this book as I can see myself reading and listening to it again in the near future.

    Now onto my thoughts of “The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything you Own” by Joshua Becker.  For someone like me that has just stumbled upon this concept of minimalism, I still really hadn’t figure out what it meant and assumed that this book was going to tell me how to throw away almost everything I own.  I quickly realized by Joshua’s definition of minimalism it didn’t specifically talk about “physical things” and in fact, I feel this is a much better definition than what people think.

    Minimalism: the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from them

    After reading that definition in the book it dawned on me as to why he titled the book “The More of Less.”  Through the book, he explains this from his own personal story of why he wanted less as well as through the stories of others which are great examples of how The More of Less can take on many forms.  In fact, you quickly realize there isn’t a wrong answer or a right way, you just need to figure out your own WHY.  It is a tough question that takes some time to figure out and I honestly believe it might change as you go.  It has for me at least.  Once you start formulating it in your head, it should become clearer as to the actions you might want to take in order to get you on the right track.  That track is again where this book is great. Joshua does a great job laying out various examples of what you can do to take those next steps after the why.  In fact, most are simple steps to get you started, and nothing life-changing like selling/getting rid of everything you own.  Now I had started some of this process of removing less value-added things in my life (I call it decluttering) before I read the book but one of his super simple ideas to start was to keep your car clean.  Why that is so simple that it hadn’t even been on my mind yet and with 3 kids your car quickly becomes overtaken with “stuff” all over.  So that night after reading that part of the book I cleaned both our vehicles out.  Now after 3 weeks it is still cleaner than before because it is easier than before and every time I get into my car I just feel that much better.

    That was just one example of the many that are touched on in the book.  Honestly, when I got to the last page I was just finishing an early morning run and I was a little sad that the book was over.  There is so many useful examples/thoughts that Joshua put in there and I enjoyed hearing all of them as they continued to shape my thoughts.

    I would definitely recommend this book to everyone as I think everyone can find pieces/parts of the book that will relate to their lives no matter what your own personal situation is.  Joshua Becker has also written some other books, has a blog where he captures his thoughts as well at Becoming Minimalist, and also has a 12-week course titled Uncluttered.

    Too many people spend money they haven’t earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people they don’t like. - Will Rogers

    "Uncommon Stock: Exit Strategy" by Eliot Peper

    The final book in the Uncommon Stock series hit the shelves on July 29, 2015 and if you were like me you had already pre-ordered it so it would be instantly sent to your Kindle.  

    If you missed the launch of the Part III, don’t worry you can pick it up from Amazon for only $4.99 (it is a steal).  

    Trust me you will not be disappointed with Part III, just as the first two books were well worth it.  Now if you haven’t read them yet I would suggest you read all three in order (here is my take on Part II, Uncommon Stock: Power Play).

    I was really excited to see how the whole journey of Mara and James unfolded in this book and it was too perfect that it hit the shelves right before I had a long trip to China.  I started reading it on my long flights and wished I wouldn’t have had other things that kept distracting me along the way.

    However, since the team I was with never went into work until 8am I had plenty of time after waking up at 4am, as I wasn’t able to sleep any longer, to continue reading.  The only bad part about that was I didn’t want to put it down when I knew it was time to catch the cab.  Also, it helped that domestic flights in China seem to be delayed often which allowed me to finish the book and write this posting.

    Now onto Exit Strategy, the story puts you right back into the fast-paced life of the Mozaik startup roller coaster.  

    Eliot does a great job keeping your thoughts focused on wondering what Mara is going to do next and how are they ever going to take down Maelstrom.  Not to mention you are captivated by the underlying story about Mozaik, the company you have been rooting for since Part 1.  He does a great job walking you through some of the real-life examples of the pains that Startups go through from the beginning all the way through IPOs.  Honestly, this is one of those books that touches on so many topics that it probably appeals to people that like all kinds of books from mystery, suspense and action. Then to top that off it is about this Startup company trying to catch people involved in financial fraud, murder, and deception.

    Now I could probably write on and on about what happened but that would just ruin the fun of reading it.  So I will at least give you a couple of my favorite quotes/sayings from the book that stuck out to me.  I think each of these just go to show the amount of information beyond being a good story is packed into this book and more specifically this series.

    The short version is that when you lay good code on top of bad code, the result is still bad code.

    You can’t wait until you had enough time for exercise. You had to make time for it no matter what.

    Economics, the science of explaining tomorrow why the predictions you made yesterday didn’t come true today.

    There is something ephemeral but infinitely satisfying about starting something yourself.  Your shit is on the line and you and your team are where the buck stops.  If you get a kick out of that, then you end up having few other employment choices.  If you’ve got that bug, you essentially have to start a company or get involved with startups.  Otherwise, your brain starts to rot and you get all bitchy and miserable.

    Finally, at the end of the book after it is all done (don’t worry I am not going to spoil the ending) but Eliot Peper hinted at coming out with a new book (not part of this series) in Spring of 2016.  So if you are like me and enjoy his style of writing you probably should following him on twitter (@EliotPeper) and subscribe to his newsletter from his website (http://www.eliotpeper.com/).

    "Uncommon Stock: Power Play" by Eliot Peper

    Finally got around to putting some real thoughts into the book I read a while back called “Uncommon Stock: Power Play” by Eliot Peper.  I actually got and read this book right around the time it was published back in November/December but things started to pick up at my old job and I never got a chance to put the rest of my thoughts in writing about the book.

    The book is very captivating as it is about a Startup company that gets caught up in a money laundering scheme.  One of the great things I like about this book is that it discusses real issues that I have heard founders face in Startups today, which is then mixed into the suspense of the characters lives.

    Eliot’s style of writing is very engaging and hard to put down.  However, if you do have to HAVE to put it down because a child is crying or children or fighting it isn’t hard to pick right back up where you left off.

    Overall, it is a great book and I would suggest picking it up from FG Press since at only $4.95 for a digital version it is a steal.  Then why you are there you might as well pick up the Uncommon Stock book in the series titled “Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0” as it only costs under five dollars as well.

    Finally, Eliot is planning on publishing another books in this series this year titled Uncommon Stock: Exit Strategy, which I can’t wait to read.  To make sure you don’t miss out and are in the know on his upcoming book you should probably following him on twitter (@EliotPeper) and subscribe to his newsletter from his website (http://www.eliotpeper.com/).

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